Is my dog deaf or ignoring me?


Dear Sassy,

I think my 14 year old dog Ginger has lost her hearing. Do you have any suggestions on ways I can help her?


Hearing Impaired

Dear Impaired,

Hearing loss is part of the aging process. This is a common medical issue for older dogs and cats. Detecting hearing problems in pets is not easy until the loss is significant, especially if you have other pets. A dog or cat may bark or meow louder or more often than normal (annoyingly so) because they can’t hear themselves. Your pet may not respond to the door bell, treat packet or can opener as before. She may seem startled when you approach her. Also, your pet may be sleeping more soundly and seem harder to wake.

If you suspect your pet is losing her hearing, test her by calling her name or making a loud noise when she is looking away from you. Try several different levels in the tone of your voice because some dogs may be able to hear a higher or lower pitched sounds.

Age related hearing loss can’t be prevented. However, take your pet for vet exam to rule out other medical problems, such as an ear infection, growth, or wax buildup or a foreign body in the ear.

As you have discovered, hearing impaired or deaf pets adapt well by using visual clues, vibrations and smell.

Sassy recommends:

· Teach your pet hand signals for better communication.

· On trips outside, keep your dog on a leash or in a fenced yard. Do not allow deaf cats outside as they can’t hear traffic or barking dogs.

· Put a bell on your dog or cat’s collar, so you can find them easier.

· Inside the house, the vibration from a loud stomp may get your pet’s attention. Waving your hand or arm works if the pet is looking toward you.A flashlight or laser penlight can also be used to get her attention.

· To prevent startling your pet, gently tap her on the back or shoulder when entering or leaving the room.

· Check for more tips.

· (Note from Martha: Sassy is now totally deaf and knows many signs. She still goes on adventures, eats too many treats and loves to watch TV (with the sound down), and enjoys her day, as always. She is more spoiled than ever and chooses to ignore the signal for the word “No.”)

Sassy would like to introduce you to her new friend Sheba

Meet Sweet Sheba. She is a two year old Shepherd mix. She is very sweet loveable. She likes to play with toys and will quietly entertain herself. Sheba is about 40lb medium sized dog and is now available to adopt. This dog has been tested POSITIVE for heartworms and started on Revolution. The vet has prescribe Heartguard to treat her heartworms and she comes with almost 2 year supply. She is spayed and has been given a Rabies shot, DHPPC combination shot, Bordatella and Strongid T. worming. The adoption fee for this animal is $30.00 for Rowlett residents, $25.00 for non residents and $5.00 for seniors.

If you are interested in meeting Sheba, visit the Rowlett Animal Shelter, 4402 Industrial St, Rowlett, TX 75088 Phone: 972.412.6219.

Sassy gives advice to dogs and their people, with the help of her person, Martha Caster Lloyd. Martha owns a Pet Sitting and Cage Free Grooming Service in Sachse (

Email your questions to Sassy at .


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